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Jazz and Comedy in an Uber

The sun is lowering as I sweep into the front passenger seat of the Uber, a lovely black car driven by an African American man in a stylish brown hat, jazz blaring on the radio. “Hello, young lady! How’s your night going?” His Black accent is fantastic to my ears.


It's argued that jazz is dying, tragically.

“Good! And can I just say I’m loving your music? I haven’t gotten into an Uber before where someone is playing jazz.”

“Oh, is that right?”

“Yeah!”

We head south down Highway 65 and continue talking music.

“There used to be jazz clubs all over the Twin Cities, but there aren’t anymore.”

“I was just hearing that from a friend,” I say, “but have you ever been to Shaw’s? They have jazz there, often!”

He looks over at me, does a double take, his mouth open. “What? Shaw’s?”

“Yeah! It’s this cool bar in Northeast Minneapolis. They have blues and jazz all the time.”

He continues looking over at me, his shock obvious. “How did I never hear about this place?”

“I don’t know, but you’ll have to check it out!”

“Oh yeah I will! I’m going to! Man, I haven’t heard of a place like that around here in years. I used to go out and hear jazz all the time.”

“Have you heard of Crooner’s?” I ask as we cruise through a green light. “That’s another jazz club and it’s coming up on the left, soon, actually.”

“No!”

I point out Crooner’s to him as we pass through Fridley, and then he tells me about when he, unknowingly at first, gave a ride to a well-known jazz quartet, amazed when they began singing along with his music. “I told them they should make a record,” he says, “when I dropped them off, they told me who they are. I listened to them all the time as a kid!”

“Did you get pictures?”

“Oh yeah, I got pictures with them, of course I did!”

Our conversation moves on to comedians like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor; their trailblazing in the world of comedy. Just then, at a stop light in the brightness of downtown, two young men walk by the car, one of them making straightforward eye contact with me, not looking away when I glance at him twice more. “Do you know him?” asks my new friend, and I tell him “No, that was weird!” As we drive on, we both hoot with laughter.

He drops me off where I’ll meet my date, telling me to have a great night, and I tell him to do the same.

“Don’t forget about Shaw’s and Crooner’s!” I say.

“Oh, you better believe I won’t!”

I grin.

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